China faces ageing challenge

Updated: 2016-10-09 17:08

By Chen Mengwei(

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Each day, more than 1,370 seniors (aged beyond 60) cannot find their way back home in China, according to the latest China White Paper on the Lost Elderly.

The report was jointly issued on Sunday by the Zhongmin Social Assistance Institute, a non-government organization committed to theoretical studies on social welfare, and, a popular online content aggregator. The paper's release falls on the same day as the Chongyang Festival, China's national holiday for the elderly.

Similar to most developed countries facing aging challenges, Alzheimer's and other diseases hurting memory and intelligence is also a major factor leading to more and more seniors losing their way in China. As many as 72 percent of the lost elderly have trouble memorizing things, according to the report.

But what makes China different is, due to intensive labor migration to metropolises, the left-behind elderly people in less developed regions and rural areas are much more likely to get lost than their urban counterparts. The Toutiao reported that 84.13 percent of seniors lost in big cities can be found, yet the success rate dropped to 50.31 percent in counties and villages.

By the end of 2015, China had more than 222 million people aged beyond 60, which accounted for 16.1 percent of the nation's entire population, while the average life expectancy had surpassed 76.34.

The China National Committee on Ageing predicted that 400 million people would make it past 60 years of age around 2033, growing at an astonishing speed of 10 million per year. At that rate, senior citizens aging 60 and above will take up more than one third of China's population in 2050.

Making the challenge more complicated, 247 million people are leaving their hometown to work and live in other cities in China at the moment.